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Hullabaloo


Tuesday, March 12, 2013

 
A friendly reminder for Ed Rendell and the boys

by digby

The Washington Post did an interesting thing: they compared life expectancies between two neighboring Florida counties. One, St. Johns, is a well-off coastal county and its neighbor next door Putnam is a more working class inland county. Guess what?

The widening gap in life expectancy between these two adjacent Florida counties reflects perhaps the starkest outcome of the nation’s growing economic inequality: Even as the nation’s life expectancy has marched steadily upward, reaching 78.5 years in 2009, a growing body of research shows that those gains are going mostly to those at the upper end of the income ladder.

The tightening economic connection to longevity has profound implications for the simmering debate about trimming the nation’s entitlement programs. Citing rising life expectancy, influential voices including the Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction commission, the Business Roundtable and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have argued that it makes sense to raise the eligibility age for Social Security and Medicare.

But raising the eligibility ages — currently 65 for Medicare and moving toward 67 for full Social Security benefits — would mean fewer benefits for lower-income workers, who typically die younger than those who make more.

“People who are shorter-lived tend to make less, which means that if you raise the retirement age, low-income populations would be subsidizing the lives of higher-income people,” said Maya Rockeymoore, president and chief executive of Global Policy Solutions, a public policy consultancy. “Whenever I hear a policymaker say people are living longer as a justification for raising the retirement age, I immediately think they don’t understand the research or, worse, they are willfully ignoring what the data say.”

Well, not to worry. The consensus is that the Chained-CPI is the lesser of evils and that means that many of the poor people who will get screwed by that will already be dead too soon so that's nice. And everybody says we don't need to worry about the few who beat the odds and live long enough for the Chained-CPI to really bite because the government will surely come up with something to make sure they're taken care of. The whole thing is sick, sick, sick.

Remember people, this is America. We're not a poor country:



But we do have a problem:



And you are telling me that we have to cut the already meager incomes and benefits of old, disabled,sick and poor people even though we are, by far, the richest country in the world? Really? That's the only thing we can do? As I said: sick.

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